kaia kater

New Soul of Traditional Mountain Music

Born of African-Caribbean descent in Québec, Kaia Kater grew up between two worlds: one her family’s deep ties to Canadian folk music in her Toronto home; the other the years she spent learning and studying Appalachian music in the USA. Her old-time banjo-picking skills, deft arrangements, and songwriting abilities have landed her in the spotlight in North America and the UK, garnering critical acclaim from outlets such as Rolling Stone, CBC Music, No Depression and Uncut.

Kaia started her career early, crafting her first EP Old Soul (2013) when she was just out of high school. Since then, she’s gone on to release two more albums, Sorrow Bound (2015) and Nine Pin (2016). Her most recent album weaves between hard-hitting songs that touch on social issues like the Black Lives Matter movement (“Rising Down,” “Paradise Fell”) and more personal narratives speaking to life and love in the digital age (“Saint Elizabeth”). Nine Pin won a Canadian Folk Music Award and sent Kaia on an 18-month touring journey from Ireland to Iowa, including stops at The Kennedy Center, Hillside Festival and London's O2 Arena. Kaia is currently working on her next album, due for release in early 2019.





Top News

the scuttlebutt

In today’s landscape, Kater’s voice isn’t just timely, it’s necessary. Being young, black and female makes her a triple threat of relevance. But being excellent is what makes her an imperative.
— Bao Le-Huu, Orlando Weekly
Twenty-three-year-old Kaia Kater from Québec studied mountain music in West Virginia and writes songs from the here and now. Her second album manages to triangulate bluegrass, Nina Simone, and Toni Morrison.
— Neil Spencer, The Guardian
Kater has made one of the most daring, inventive traditional records in recent years, at a time when Appalachian music is experiencing a revival.
— Jonathan, Bernstein, American Songwriter Magazine
Her newest album is Nine Pin and it’s an exercise in power of simplicity. While there are other musicians dotting the album with everything from trumpet to electric guitar, the strength comes from Kater: the low, deep emotion in her voice and the contrasting twang of her banjo.
— JamBase
Kater is one of the most exciting roots musicians to come along in years.
— Garden & Gun
...Kater’s music is somehow ancient and brand new at the same time.
— Tom Power, CBC Radio 2
...plaintive, mesmerizing...writes and performs with the skill of a folk-circuit veteran...
— Rolling Stone
Nine Pin is unlike anything you’ll hear this year.
— Rachel Cholst, No Depression
You want some authenticity in your folk music or bluegrass - I give you Kaia Kater.
— John Apice, No Depression
Sorrow Bound is a remarkably assured debut album which both honors tradition and declared Kater’s credentials as a distinctive, original artist.
— Steve Hunt, fRoots Magazine UK
I have just seen the Ola Belle Reed of the 21st Century.
— Art Menius, No Depression/The ArtsCentre, Carrboro, NC

upcoming appearances